Exhaustion and Injury

by the other theo

A friend just recently discussed the benefits of rest and recovery, and this along with a little spare time is the catalyst for an entry I’ve wanted to write for a couple weeks now on the subject.

Simply put, I am tired and it is hurting me.

The year 2014 is a very active year for me.  I’ve lost something like 20 pounds since last December.  It was closer to 25 back in the beginning of June, but things have gone a bit off the rails since then, and gained few pounds back.  I accomplished this without an odd diet; I just committed myself to 40 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week, and made sure to do the following:

  1. I didn’t try to completely deny myself anything, but I did try to limit my intake of certain things like cocktails, wine, orange juice with breakfast, chips/pretzels/etc… to only a couple days a week.
  2. Water was my default beverage.
  3. I tried to control the size of the portions of what I did eat and emphasized vegetables and lean sources of protein.
  4. I tried to keep in between meal snacking to a minimum. A good day was/is a day where there are significant stretches where I am consuming nothing, except drinking some water.
  5. I tried to eat as much un-processed, home cooked food as I could, and tried to improve my cooking skills.

I’m still trying to do that… but falling down on the job a bit (or more than a little bit,) especially in the evenings.  I’ve made some progress in getting things back under control, but there is still a way to go.

I believe this serious devotion to exercise and weight loss came with a price.  I started to feel it in late May.  I did not feel energized after my morning workouts.  After a while, I started to positively drag.  I was fired up with the “good news” of my own progress though.  “Ok,” I’d tell myself, “not all of this is going to be a cake walk.  The tough days are what separates people who get fit from those who don’t.”   That was and is true.  I need to stay with this.

At the same time, other things started to happen.   The Peanut began to enter a more restless period at night, when he would wake up from bad dreams.  I was the one more often than not who would wake up and comfort him.   The heat of summer also began to really hit.   We have an air conditioner in our room, but it’s rather noisy.   Sleeping with it on is a bit like being a hotel room, where you never know hearing the compressor trip on will wake you up in the middle of the night.  So, I’m not sure how many times in 2+ months that I’ve actually slept completely through the night.   It can’t be many.

In addition to the weight gain, I injured my shoulder a few weeks ago. It came on slowly.  All the toting of luggage and car seats on the Vacation That Spectacularly Wasn’t probably started the ball rolling.   After that, I spent a little more time than usually picking up and carrying the Peanut.  He’s in a bit of a stubborn “no to everything” phase this summer, and we’ve noticed a higher than usual frequency of tantrums this summer when he does not get his way.   My solution to this problem was often to simply pick him up and carry him to where he needed to be rather than try to argue with a toddler.

The last straw came when I was solo parenting the Peanut three Sundays ago.   We’d done some grocery shopping that afternoon, and I had to pick him up to put him in a shopping cart a couple times, not always completely willingly.   That night, I did not fall asleep until after 1:30am because I simply could NOT find a comfortable position in which to sleep.

I saw the family doctor the following day, and described the shooting pain in a muscle/tendon that ran across the top of my right shoulder blade and into my upper arm.  The pain prevented me from lifting my right arm might above shoulder level and unable to use my arm to reach around my back.  He suggested that it could be tendonitis, and referred me for physical therapy.

I have not had time to follow up on the referral because I was solo parenting the Peanut all last week.  The shoulder is better, but not completely well.

The lack of sleep, the physical discomfort, some emotional stress at work (of which I have only mentioned a fraction of incidents,) a hot California drought year, and I am just very out of balance.

Eating does not restore that balance, but it does provide momentary comfort… but does nothing good in the long term.